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French ab initio

Part of the IB Diploma Programme subject group 2, Language Acquisition, French ab initio is recommended for students who have little or no experience of learning French. Our course content is designed to be challenging, engaging and a positive educational experience for each student.

Course content updated for last examinations in May and November 2019. New content in development for first examinations in May 2021. 

Themes covered through the course

The French ab initio course aims to develop receptive, productive and interactive skills to a high level of communicative competence. Our course content provides a solid grammar and vocabulary framework and is organized into three themes (individual and society; leisure and work; urban and rural environment) made up of a series of 20 topics.

Through the study of these themes, the students are able to practise grammatical structures and vocabulary and explore the language whilst developing an intercultural understanding. By developing the range of receptive, productive and interactive skills, the students become able to communicate and interact in a range of everyday situations. These skills equip the student with the necessary skills to achieve the assessment objectives of the French ab initio course.

Activities and assessment

French ab initio students may be involved in many different forms of communication and exposed to a wide variety of texts. They will be encouraged to get involved in class discussions about written texts, informal conversations, everyday scenarios and emails. Students are expected to develop accuracy and fluency in expression and control over vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and intonation.

A range of texts are accessed in the course. Language skills are not developed in isolation but through the use of a wide range of contemporary materials such as web pages, advertisements, newspaper and magazine articles, catalogues, forms, instructions, and much more.

Assessment will be both formative and summative and fully in accordance with IB criteria.

Advice from our teachers

In order to succeed in French ab initio SL, we recommend students set aside five to six hours a week.

Benefits to students

Taking French ab initio will enable students to:

  • develop their receptive, productive and interactive skills
  • function successfully in a French-speaking environment
  • develop an appreciation of the cultural riches of French-speaking communities
  • greatly expand their possibilities for work, entertainment and travel

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